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How to make your first UX comic (UXScotland)


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Slides from my talk at UX Scotland this year: How to make your first UX comic or storyboard. There are added captions to help talk you through the process of making a comic to communicate a user experience based story!

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How to make your first UX comic (UXScotland)

  1. 1. How to make your firstUX comic / storyboardBonny Colville-Hyde@almostexactWith added commentary!#uxscot
  2. 2. What is a comic?“Comics have a vocabulary thatdoesnt even require language. Infact, many of its symbols could beconsidered a language of their ownthat requires no teaching orexplanation”Kevin Cheng,‘See what I mean’
  3. 3. the power ofimages
  4. 4. Even without using any words, an image cancommunicate an awful lot about how people use aservice or device, with very few details.For instance, what do you think these two are doing?
  5. 5. ...And what about now??
  6. 6. And what about this man?
  7. 7. £££Even with very few clues in an image cancommunicate a whole narrative to the viewer -which they will do the work to fill in, even thoughyou’ve not written anything!
  8. 8. THE PROBLEM WITHUXDon’t get me wrong, I love UX, but it’s not perfect.
  9. 9. DEATH BY DOCUMENTATIONWe like ‘deliverables’Deliverables don’t make theexperience betterWe can bore stakeholdersHow often do you think clients read ALL of thedocuments you produce?
  10. 10. EmpathyMost documents don’t help teammembers to emphathise with users- instead they create abstractionWhere as comics can create empathy, thankgoodness!
  11. 11. Comics can help
  12. 12. Sequential artSequential art gives us a means toexpress changing time, space andemotion in a succinct wayIt also allows us to explore andvisualise ideas without significantinvestmentCheck out Will Eisner’s books about comics to learnmore about sequential art.
  13. 13. COMICS CAN BE USED IN MANYWAYS throughout a projectTo show how things are nowTo show how people would likethings to beTo review how things could bedifferentPlus comics are quick to create once you’ve had a bitof practice!
  14. 14. When to use comicsResearchAnalysisConceptsIA WireframesTestingPrototypingBuild
  15. 15. When to use comicsResearchAnalysisConceptsIA WireframesTestingPrototypingBuildFeel free to use them whenever you need to - therearen’t any rules.
  16. 16. BenefitsTest ideasMore effective communication toolthan standard documentationSharing within organisationsLess about the interface, moreabout the tasks people do
  17. 17. an example
  18. 18. XKCDUsing very few details, XKCD explain the problem ofinformation saturation.
  19. 19. Another xkcd classicThis XKCD bit of brilliance only has one panel, yet canstill communicate so much!
  20. 20. This is part of a comic series I made for anautomotive finance company - its based on taskbased personas and depth interview research.
  22. 22. Layouts
  23. 23. GuttersWhat goes on between the panels in a comic is justas important as what goes on in the panels!
  24. 24. GuttersGutters can be used to show the passing of time.
  25. 25. GuttersEven with very few details, combined with thegutters, we can string together narratives.
  26. 26. communicationEven when speech bubbles are left empty, they stillcommunicate with readers.
  27. 27. getting starteddrawingIts really not *that* difficult! Honest!
  28. 28. why you don’t need to be anartistThe simpler you keep characters, the easier it is forthe reader to empathise with them. Too much detail isunnecessary.
  29. 29. Drawing peopleUsing guidelines to help you place your character’sfeatures, you can ensure you draw them consistently.
  30. 30. It’s all in the faceNote how the curved linesmake the face look more 3D.
  31. 31. Looking at things
  32. 32. EmotionsEyebrows and mouths are incredibly powerful tools tocommunicate emotions!
  33. 33. Adding detailsIf you add too much detail, your characters will stopbeing so easy to empathise careful you don’tgo OTT!
  34. 34. Body languageBody language can be used to communicate a hell of alot of emotion in your characters - you don’t need todraw much to get the effect.
  35. 35. developing your styleOnce you’ve experimented a bit you can create yourown set of characters - as simple or detailed as youlike...
  36. 36. StorytellingThe narrative of your comics mustdemonstrate how people do orcould use a service
  37. 37. Creating your plotPersonas are really useful startingpointsRefer to research to pull outbehaviours and stories that couldbring the comic to life
  38. 38. lets make acomicThis is a little 30 minute exercise to give you somepractice drawing...!
  39. 39. Flowers for someone specialImagine you’ve got a new client called ‘MisterFlowers’. They sell flowers online, but they want newideas about how to help their customers find andsend the best flowers to their loved ones.Your challenge is to consider the two personas on thenext page, and decide on which one you’d like to makea comic about. Use about six panels to tell your storyabout how Mister Flowers could help this customer.Consider the entire flower purchase process: where isthe character? Who are they with? What’s theoccasion? What device are they using? etc...
  40. 40. mini personasCharlie•Always forgets birthdays and specialoccasions•Very busy lifestyle jugglingcommuting and a packed social lifeWhat they want:•Improve their reputation with friendsand family•Make their loved ones feel special•Get a gift sent on time!Key constraintTimeChris•Likes planning and researchinggifts for friends and family•Has a limited budget, but likes todo as much as possible with itWhat they want:•To get the ‘perfect’ gift for theirloved ones•Get everything sorted in advance•Maintain their reputation as a greatgift giver!Key constraintBudget
  41. 41. Time saving tipsTIMEs UP
  42. 42. Time saving tips
  43. 43. Paper comicsDraw out devices and other ‘props’ on a master sheetto trace from - this speeds up drawing comics.You can trace photos too.
  44. 44. DIGITAL COMICSI like to use Adobe Illustrator and Comic Life to createmy comics.
  45. 45. Here’s a view of one of my Adobe Illustratordocuments I use to store all the different assets I useand re-use within the comics I make.
  46. 46. This is a view of the AWESOME Comic Life! It makesproducing comics wonderfully easy.
  47. 47. Further readingRemember the UXScotland discount code!
  48. 48. Thank youBonny Colville-Hyde@almostexactFeel free to contact me with any questions - or ifyou’d like me to send you come blank comic layouts topractice on. Have fun!